DECEMBER 10, 1999 • HOUSTON VOICE
First Lady knocks Pentagon's policy on gays
> Continued from Page 1
ors felt constrained by the policy.
Glover never addressed the allegation
that he despised homosexuals. His attorneys
argued that another soldier, Spc. Justin R.
Fisher, goaded Glover into the attack. Fisher
will be tried in January as an accessory.
Staff Sgt. Michael Kleifgen testified that
Fisher started spreading rumors in March
among members of their unit that Winchell,
of Kansas City, Mo., was gay. Kleifgen and
another sergeant testified that Winchell told
them that he was not gay. Fisher often
harassed Winchell and once, during a scuffle, struck him in the head with a dustpan,
.Kleifgen, their section leader at the time,
said he regularly spoke with Fisher and
Winchell about their differences. But the
problems continued, so the matter was presented to a first sergeant, he said.
"He said, basically, there was nothing we
could do because of the 'don't ask, don't tell'
policy," Kleifgen said, referring to the military's policy on homosexuals.
Kleifgen said he also got nowhere pursuing the issue with the company commander
and filed a complaint with the post's inspector general. It was not immediately known
what happened to that complaint.
Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon said
the Defense Department is working on new
training programs for commanders to ensure
a fair enforcement of the policy on gays.
"There were certainly very disturbing
charges made in the course of this trial about
the atmosphere at Fort Campbell, and the
commanders at Fort Campbell have said
that after the trial is over they will review the
compliance with the 'don't ask, don't tell'
policy and all the relevant procedures and
regulations that flow from that policy,"
Bacon said the Clinton administration's
policy has succeeded in ending the previous
practice of excluding gays from the military.
Clinton speaks out
On Thursday, Hillary Rodham Clinton
said she doesn't support the "don't ask,
don't tell" policy, reiterating comments she
made two days earlier during a private,
Manhattan fund-raiser sponsored by the
Empire State Pride Agenda.
"I don't believe it's the policy we should
have in our military," she said at a news conference in Manhattan, adding: "I believe
Americans willing to serve their country
should be allowed to do so. They should be
able to do so without discrimination and
harassment. I believe fitness to serve in the
military should be based on conduct, not
The first lady said she was not uncomfortable staking out a position that put
her at odds with President Clinton. "I'm
going to be a candidate for the Senate of
New York," she said. "I'm going to be
stating my positions that will be from
time to time different from the White
If elected to the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Clinton
said, she would work to overturn the controversial policy, put in place by her husband during his first term in office. The
group supports equal rights for gays.
Her position was first reported in
Thursday's New York Times, which learned
of Mrs. Clinton's comments from participants at the fund-raiser.
Mrs. Clinton, responding to a question
posed at thc fund-raiser, held at the studio of
the artist Ross Bleckner, voiced her displeasure with the policy in unequivocal terms,
according to participants, the Times reported.
There were murmurs of approval and soft
applause as she described "don't ask, don't
tell" as a failure, taking note of the fact that
there has been an increa-se in the number of
gays expelled from the military since the
policy was put in force.
"1 think, quite frankly, she expressed a
view that is an emerging consensus among
people who are following this closely,"
Richard Socarides, the former White House
liaison on gay issues, who attended the
fund-raiser, told the Times. Socarides said
she stated her views "directly and forcefully," adding: "I suspect that if you asked the
president directly, he would say that this is
an area that requires a lot of work also."
Although she said she didn't expect
Congress to approve such legislation now,
Mrs. Clinton said the Pentagon should take
Hillary Rodham Clinton told gay supporters in
New York Tuesday that she doesn't support
the military's 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy on
gays, a policy her husband created.
steps to reduce the inst-ances of gays being
discharged from the military, the Times said.
While her position puts her at odds with
an administration policy, she is in line with
the views of her likely Republican Senate
rival. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Aides to the mayor say Giuliani has been
critical of the "don't ask, don't tell policy"
from the beginning.
—From staff and wire reports
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